As the current Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) of the EU—i.e., the allocation of EU funding to different policy areas between 2014 and 2020—nears completion, discussions concerning its successor have begun. While these discussions are currently focused on the overall budget amount and the funding of new priority areas such as defence and the management of migratory flows, they cannot overlook the ecological transition as a whole, nor climate action in particular.
This Policy Brief identifies 10 important topics to monitor, as they will be essential to determining whether or not the next European budget becomes a driver of the ecological transition.
- What share of the next MFF will be allocated to the ecological transition? Several actors view the current objective of ensuring that “20% of EU expenditure is climate-related” insufficient, and are calling for this share to be raised, or indeed for it to be extended to other environmental causes. In this context, and to avoid any sense of “greenwashing”, it is important to define what expenses can be considered as contributing—or not—to the ecological transition.
- With regard to ending financing towards projects that are not consistent with the long-term environmental targets for the EU, and with its carbon-neutrality target in particular, the next MFF presents an opportunity for the EU to define what it views as expenditure detrimental to environmental goals, rather than focusing on specifically “green” expenditure.
- These two sensitive issues will need to be raised and addressed not only at the overall budget level, but also within each structural fund and programme, starting with those relating to the following action areas: solidarity with disadvantaged or vulnerable countries and regions in Europe, agriculture, innovation, infrastructure, and cooperation with developing countries.
- Finally, the debates on the next MFF could be an opportunity to embed green taxation in the EU budget with a view to developing EU own resources; to help support regions and workers impacted by the ecological transition; or even to modify the way the budget is presented so as to better reflect its contribution towards this transition.